Here is the scenario………
Home counties and the commuter belt are filling up so the powers that be need a strategy to coerce people to move away from the normal domiciles and think geographically wider. So central government offers a bribe (sorry an incentive) to see which suburban conurbations rise to the bait.
In the meantime Norfolk County Council applies in a response to this plea from central government to be a growth area and attract additional funding in return for building thousands of houses.
This additional funding could be used to complete shelved infrastructure projects like the Northern Distributor Road which would complete the Southern Bypass (A47) to make a circular bypass road for Norwich thereby protecting it from the ravishes of over-development. Well even the bypassing of Long Stratton may get dusted down and rejuvenated!
So the controversial Joint Core Strategy is born by Norfolk County Council joined by District Councils in Broadland and South Norfolk with the City joining the quartet. Even the lesser spotted Broads Authority throw their hat into the ring despite the fact that it seems to have disappeared into one of their own Broads only resurfacing if there is any sign of an encroachment onto the sacred Broads themselves. This strategy gets developed by the unelected local government QANGO called the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) and calls for the construction of 37,000 new houses for local people in and around Norwich from 2015 to 2026.
An independent analysis of local authority’s provision of Affordable Housing by Shelter indicates that two local authorities within the GNDP quartet are actually over providing affordable housing and are in the top 5 of English councils in meeting the demands for this type of housing. No real rush to build new ones then!
In addition an independent review of South Norfolk’s housing list by KPMG indicates that 70% of the people on the list shouldn’t been on it in the first place. No real rush to build new ones then!
So what to do to fill all these new houses then? ………
Let’s persuade, force, cajole homeless people in London to get on a train from Liverpool Street until it stops and then the local council at the end of the line will be able to house you because they are over subscribing anyway so they have homes to spare. By the way let’s make sure the trains are the fast ones that do not stop at Stratford, as we don’t want homeless people cluttering up the streets near the Olympics do we!
But what about all of the high-end houses that will be needed to provide a balanced portfolio? ……….
I know lets get all of the local MP’s together, a coalition maybe, and get them to campaign for a 90 minute high speed rail connection betwixt Norwich and London and commuters from the square mile will be able to live in the lap of luxury in those high end houses being advertised on the Underground particularly in the North East Growth triangle.
But what about those who don’t live near the rail station I hear you say…….
Well that’s all OK because we will get the A11 dualled and Long Stratton bypassed so they can drive to London much quicker. Those that live in the new developments in the North East Growth Triangle will be able to use the NDR to get to the station or the train from Salhouse. You know the one that only stops every other hour and is so full up at peak times that the Conductor cannot collect the fares due to passengers standing and blocking the aisles.
But isn’t this all a bit risky……….
No risk at all. We will carry out the public consultation and pretend to listen to what they say and then carry on and implement the JCS come what may. After all we need to build these houses in order to secure the additional income from the Community Investment Levy, New Homes Bonus and extra Council Tax from the new homeowners otherwise we will go bust as we haven’t put up Council Tax for the last three years. How do you think the councils all got returned last year with bigger majorities! Anyway as the GNDP is not elected we don’t have to hold meetings in public or even publish Minutes so no one will be any the wiser. If the NHS can get away with not publishing their Risk Register for the changes that they are doing then so can we.
What if someone rumbles us? …
No one will bother, as local residents don’t care about stuff like this. All they are interested in is whether their Council tax goes up or whether anyone builds in their backyard. Anyway if they do kick up we will use our own in house legal team and PR people to fight them off using the NIMBY label.
Well have you heard about that settlement in Spain that has gone bust because they built thousands of new houses but no one wants to go and live in them? ……..
Yes I read about that at the weekend. The place is called Pios a new town in the Guadalajara province of Castilla-La Mancha, which they will take over 7,000 years to pay back. That will never happen here as a vast programme of overspending caused their problems and developers stampeded to put up housing estates they could never realistically hope to fill.
That will never happen here!